Every evening, at dusk, we begun burning our things: old bank statements and diaries, Buddhist family altars, wooden chopsticks, paper lanterns, photographs of our unsmiling relatives back home in the village in their strange country clothes. I watched my brother’s face turn to ash and float up into the sky. We set fire to our white silk wedding kimonos out of doors, in our apple orchards, in the furrows between the trees. We poured gasoline over our ceremonial dolls in metal trash cans in J-town back alleys. We got rid of anything that might suggest our husbands had enemy ties. Letters from our sistes. East Neighboor’s son has run away with the umbrella maker’s wife. Letters from our fathers. The trains have been electrified and now whenever you go through a tunnel you do not get soot all over your face! Letters from our mothers written to us on the day we’d left home. I can still see your footprints in the mud down by the river. And we wondered why we had insisted for so long on clinging to our strange, foreign ways. We’ve made them hate us.
Η συγγραφέας για την επιλογή της να γράψει το βιβλίο σε πρώτο πληθυντικό, αντικαθιστώντας το εγώ με το εμείς:
Would you say that The Buddha in the Attic has no central main character, or that it has many central main characters?
I’d say it has one central main character, which is everyone: the collective ‘we.’ No one ‘I’ is more important than any other.
What do you think was the benefit of writing in the ‘we’ voice, the first-person plural, as you got into the world of these mail-order brides? It’s a stylistic technique novelists rarely employ.
Using the ‘we’ voice allowed me to tell a much larger story than I would have been able to tell otherwise. At first I tried telling the story from the point of view of a single picture bride, but this approach felt too narrow and confining. In my research, I had run across so many fascinating stories, and I wanted to tell them all. Using the ‘we’ voice allowed me to weave them all in. It’s a very capacious and infinitely expandable voice. Each sentence gives you a brief window into somebody’s life – it’s like catching a glimpse of someone’s house from a train – and then we move on.
Also, since Japan is a very group-oriented culture (my father, who immigrated from Japan after World War II, once said to me, ‘Japan is the opposite of America’ – meaning, I think, that here in America, the emphasis is on the individual), it made sense to speak of the picture brides as a collective entity.
Ολόκληρη η συνέντευξη εδώ.